I’ve noticed something lately…more people are riding bikes! Everytime I go to Dan’s or Safeway for groceries, there are bikes in the racks. Last time I was at Icicle Brewing Company the rack was completely full!
I even see bikes parked on a regular basis outside of Sandy’s Waffle House. Kids, men, women, young and old, I’ve seen them all doing it, it’s great!
For our little European theme town nothing could be more authentic than encouraging more locals, and visitors, to ride their bikes downtown. The birthplace of our beloved Oktoberfest, Munich Germany, has increased cycling from 6% in 1996 to 17.4% in 2011. Ok I’m in…Let’s be more like Germany! “In fact, every second German owns a car, more than France and the UK, yet the country still sees more than five times as many cyclists.” according to the European Cyclists’ Federation.
We are unashamed about our position as a tourist destination. Did you know that Washington State has been ranked the #1 Bicycle Friendly State in the US for over five years? Why wouldn’t one of the top ranked state destinations capitalize on this?
The City of Leavenworth has taken some steps in that direction by installing a number of new bike corrals around town in an effort to create options for locals to access businesses and restaurants in the downtown core. You may have seen them on the corner of 9th and Front Street, 9th and Commercial and at the top of the hill on Front Street behind Starbucks. The rack in front of Icicle Brewing Company was actually the first in town and paid for by IBC, it has been an overwhelming success. These “Bike Corrals” are unique in the fact that they are placed in the street, not on the sidewalk, using dead zones where vehicle parking could not be allowed due to sightline issues. These racks can hold anywhere from 12-16+ bikes in the same footprint as your average F150 pickup, they are easy to use, durable and secure.
You may have also noticed the really great (albeit incomplete) bike lane striping on Ski Hill Drive. Adding bike lanes, bike parking and encouraging bikes is really good for business. according to a recent article in The Atlantic Cities titled No, Bike Lanes Don’t Hurt Retail Business The article cites a study in Seattle which has shown nearly a 400% increase in retail sales along a corridor that converted parking to bike lanes.
If you like what you see, let the city know, better yet ride your bike next time you have to run to town for a quick bite, a brew, or to do a little shopping!
Despite his last name, Patrick Walker is a bike kind of guy. This is his first OP-Ed piece for Icicle TV.